The Eagles coaching staff is being haunted by the same statistics that they used to protect them

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Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni reacts to a play during the second half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

It’s been a mixed bag of emotions from the fans and local media personalities on how they feel about the Eagles heading into their Wild Card round game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Monday night. Anyone who has watched this team for the last six weeks knows that there is something wrong on the field. In turn, for as much as the players and coaching staff tell us the locker room is in good shape, it seems the balance is a bit murky.

Throughout the brutal six-game stretch to close out the regular season in which the Eagles dropped five of their last six games and missing out on the #2 seed, we heard that the team is better than how they’ve been playing. From the players to the man leading the charge in Nick Sirianni.

Sirianni also tended to dispute the poor statistics and rankings throughout the tumultuous downward spiral, but interestingly changed his tune heading into the playoffs.

Nick Sirianni eagles
Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni speaks with an official during the second half of an NFL football game against the Washington Commanders on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
“Your numbers sometimes are what they say they are.”

-Nick Sirianni

Many of us have been saying that for the majority of the season. Especially when it comes to third down percentage on defense.

The Numbers Aren’t Good

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Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni, center, talks with down judge Danny Short (113) during the second half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

If you take that quote and apply it to the statistics, then it indicates that this team is not good and he and the coaching staff haven’t done much at all to fix the problems.

Here are some key metrics heading into the game against the Buccaneers, starting with the defense, which has been struggling all season.

Turnover Margin: -10 (5th worst)
Points Allowed Per Game: 25.2 (3rd most)
Total Yards Allowed: 356.1 (7th most)
Opponent 3rd Down Conversion Percentage: 46.35% (2nd worst)
Sacks: 43 (20th)

Now as we move to the offensive side of the ball, the unit was relatively solid until the Niners game. However, the offense has been lackluster, to say the least, over the last six weeks of the regular season. The unit has averaged 20.5 points per game. (T-15th, only three playoff teams have scored fewer during stretch)

Jalen Hurts has taken a step back this season, especially in the second-half. In the final six games, Hurts posted a QB-rating below 90 in all but one of them. Last season, Hurts had five games all season where he posted a QBR below 90. Now, he has to try and throw a football with a dislocated finger he suffered in the first half of the game against the Giants last week.

The offense also has been blitzed the 4th-most of any team in the league and Hurts has been sacked the 11th-most times this season.

Throw all that into a mixing bowl along with the lack of hot routes and check downs to help Hurts out from avoiding the pressure on top of the quick trigger from Hurts to flush the pocket, and it’s created a prime recipe for major disconnect on the offense.

Silver Lining

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) high fives Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni during the second half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Despite all the poor metrics, the Eagles perhaps got the best team to draw as they stumble into the playoffs with another not-so-great team in the Bucs. Tampa struggled to score in a must-win game against Carolina last week, having two touchdowns taken off the board and mustering three field goals to beat the woeful Panthers.

Questions surround quarterback Baker Mayfield’s health as he’s dealing with an ankle and rib injury. The offense ranks 23rd in total yards per game while averaging 20.5 points per game this season ranking 20th.

The defense blitzes a lot. Third-most in the league to be exact. That doesn’t bode well for the Eagles’ offense as shown above. Tampa though ranks in the bottom half of the league in yards allowed per game (23rd) but in the top-10 in points allowed per game at 19.1 (T-6th).

The Eagles should look at the good numbers from the Week 3 matchup when these two teams met. They ran for 200 yards, outgained the Bucs 472-174 and dominated the time of possession. All good numbers that they will need to replicate if they want to advance to the next round of the playoffs.

AP Photo/Matt Slocum